eLearning

Graduate students can use tablet apps to maximize online learning

By April 26, 2012 No Comments

The use of tablets in classrooms, from kindergarten to graduate school has drastically risen. A 2012 article in Wired reports on a study conducted with Riverside, California middle school students that showed students were more engaged and connected with course material accessed through tablet app development. These benefits may be applicable in high school and university classrooms as well.

Custom software development companies can work with schools to tailor apps to the needs of their students and programs. For example, in 2011, Dartmouth launched a graduate studies app that combines support services, student social functions and learning support tools. This is seen by Dartmouth as a strengthening of their presence as leaders both in graduate education and contemporary technology. Dartmouth's model can be picked up by other universities that wish to establish a customized app by school or program. It is significant that schools wishing to go down this path carefully consider program offerings, student populations and the ability to interface with other university technologies as they begin their plans to enter into the world of mobile apps.

Apps are a great way to supplement online courses as apps designed for tablets allow portability, access to course materials from anywhere, and the ability for students to learn at their own pace. Apps that can interface with Gmail documents or another shared presentation medium can facilitate group projects and presentations. Learning or physical disabilities can also be addressed with application software development.

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota has began a pilot project offering students iPads that are preloaded with iPad app development intended to support learning. One important aspect of this program is that the tablets are fully integrated into the curriculum as opposed to being treated as a kind of novelty. St. Mary's offers online graduate programs in HR Management, Organizational Management, and Program Management, three subjects for which emerging technology is central. Apps allow universities more control over what students access and how they do so when it comes to course content. It is intended that the outcomes of this project will increase the cognitive, pedagogical and social benefits of online learning.

It seems to be an agreed upon fact among many educators today that app and mobile based learning will be at the center of tomorrow's classrooms. This has caused some educators to worry about the so-called "app gap," which may create further economic disadvantages for students who do not have access to technology and app-based learning solutions. Many schools are attempting to address this issue by investing in tablets and customized apps to accompany them. Students entering the workforce in the future will need to be more technologically literate than those in any other time in human history. It is important for educators to play their parts and have software and equipment available to offer students the best possible advantages.

Tablet development apps are useful in a variety of academic settings, from customizable management apps to apps designed to collect field observations. They also streamline data and can make it more readily usable when it comes to making charts and graphs. Schools and universities should examine what types of apps are most useful to their student populations. As they do so, they should begin to lay out measures for assessing the learning outcomes of courses in which content is delivered in a digital format.

Contact Stacey Burris at sburris@csesoftware.com or 1.309.670.7595 and ask for a tablet app development demo today!